A 58-year-old woman is suing the City of Portland and a Portland police officer for excessive force, alleging he punched her in the face and broke her arm following a traffic stop. The suit, filed on Monday, March 26, requests a jury trial and $97,500 in lost earnings, $2,500 in medical expenses, and "non-economic damage in an amount to be proven at trial."
The traffic stop occurred on the afternoon of May 29, 2005. Barbara Weich was initially cited by Officer Gregory Adrian on SE Grand near Madison—she pulled over into the Burger King parking lot, at the east side of the Hawthorne Bridge—for failure to wear a seatbelt, according to her attorney, Gregory Kafoury.
As Weich was driving out of the parking lot, she says the cop sarcastically said, "Thank you for the smile." "You're an asshole," Weich responded. That's when the incident got even uglier, according to Kafoury.
Kafoury alleges Officer Adrian responded to Weich, asking, "What did you say?"
Weich repeated herself, calling the cop an asshole again, before driving away.
Officer Adrian followed Weich across the Hawthorne Bridge, stopped her at SW 1st and Madison, Kafoury alleges, and approached the open window of Weich's pickup truck. Then, Adrian "punched her in the face while she was inside, grabbed her arm, twisted it, forced it down against the open window repeatedly, and broke her arm," the attorney says.
Officer Adrian's arrest report tells a different story. It says Adrian cited Weich for failing to wear a seatbelt, but that she also did not have proof of insurance. He chose not to cite her for that—or tow her car—"which was my error." When Weich called him an asshole, Adrian writes that he then "chose to stop her and readdress her lack of insurance."
According to Adrian's detailed report, he then stopped Weich again with lights and sirens on the Madison viaduct above MLK, and as he walked up to her window, "She looked at me in the eye, shook her head, and sped off, as I yelled, 'Stop!'"
Adrian writes that Weich crossed the Hawthorne Bridge and stopped at a red light at SW 1st and Madison. Adrian ran up to Weich's pickup and writes, "Weich was clenching the steering wheel with both hands, she was looking straight ahead, not at me, and her engine was running and ready to take off again."
"I knew that I would need to use force to get Weich to comply with me," he writes. "I chose to use an arm-bar on her left arm as soon as I could. As my arms entered into the cab of the truck, I made a deliberate decision to distract Weich with a light jab to the left side of her jaw."
It is against the police bureau's policy to comment on ongoing lawsuits.